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Content about LGBT rights in Jamaica

February 22, 2015

Jamaican singer Queen Ifrica says reggae singers use homophobic lyrics to get cheers and applause from audiences

A Jamaican reggae singer has defended her use of anti-gay lyrics in her music, saying she uses them to get applause and cheers from the audience.

Ventrice Morgan, who goes by the stage name of Queen Ifrica, says such lyrics are only about getting a reaction from the crowd and not about inciting violence or hatred.

‘A lot of these artists who were using homophobic lyrics, were never about inciting violence,’ she says.

‘It was about getting a forward – an applause – from the crowd.'

October 22, 2014

A comprehensive report by Human Rights Watch details how Jamaica’s LGBT community faces widespread discrimination and violence

A new report by the New York-based organization Human Rights Watch paints a damning portrait of the treatment of LGBT people in Jamaica.

The Human Rights Watch report – Not Safe at Home – follows five weeks of study on the Caribbean island country from April to June last year.

October 7, 2014

Poll finds 68% of Jamaicans feel LGBTI people should not have the same rights as others

Nine in ten Jamaicans said the country's sodomy law that criminalizes gay sex between men should not be repealed, according to a new poll.

Only 5% said the law should be abolished and 4% said they did not know.

The poll interviewed people and was conducted on 6-7 September and 13-14 September. It was commissioned by the Jamaica Gleaner newspaper and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3%.

The poll also found that 82% of Jamaicans said they believed gay men were not treated fairly by the legal system or the police.

June 7, 2014

Jamaican newspaper The Gleaner attacked the inequalities faced by LGBTI people, and criticized hypocritical attitudes over marriage

A Jamaican newspaper has published an editorial in support of gay marriage.

The Gleaner, a popular broadsheet published six days a week, ran the editorial on 5 June with the headline ‘Same-Sex Unions And The Marriage Contract’.

The beginning of the article highlighted statistics about marriage in Jamaica, such as rising divorce rates, and argued in favour of gay marriage, underlining the hypocrisy and inequality of the current climate in Jamaica.

December 9, 2013

An anti-gay activist trying to keep gay sex illegal in Jamaica suggested Tom Daley’s sexuality is because his dad died and he is looking for a strong father figure

A UK-based anti-gay activist in Jamaica has claimed Tom Daley came out as bisexual because of ‘the lack of a father’.

Andrea Minichiello Williams, co-founder of the UK-based Christian Concern, was in Kingston over the weekend to speak at a ‘pro-family’ conference titled International Law and the Welfare of the Family, organized by the Jamaican Coalition for a Healthy Society and the Christian Lawyers’ Association.

November 17, 2013

Jamaica’s Constitutional Court has ruled that three national television stations can legally refuse to screen a paid public service announcement promoting greater tolerance for homosexuals

The Constitutional Court of Jamaica has thrown out a law suit against three television stations that refused to screen a paid for public service announcement promoting tolerance of gays and lesbians in the Caribbean island nation.

Justices Paulette Williams, Bryan Sykes and Leighton Pusey found that the state owned Public Broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica (PBCJ) network could not screen the commercial as it does not screen any kind of paid advertisement.

October 18, 2013

Jamaican police officers burned the belongings of ‘unruly gay men’ living in and around a gully in New Kingston

Jamaican police officers have burned the property of gay and bisexual men living in New Kingston.

The officers from St Andrews Central Police burned clothing and other property of the men who are living in and around Trafalgar Road.

A TV report of the raid on 15 October claims some of the men were male prostitutes working one of the area’s busiest streets.

The report also says police and security guards accuse them of throwing missiles at local businesses and verbally harassing male employees.

October 13, 2013

New report to be launched on Tuesday also says two-thirds of LGB people feel unsafe compared to heterosexuals

More than one in six gay people have been the victim of homophobic hate crimes in the last three years, a new study has shown.

The report, commissioned by UK gay rights charity Stonewall and based on a YouGov poll of 2,500 lesbians, bisexuals and gay men, estimates that over 630,000 have suffered anti-gay violence or abuse since 2010.

The poll also found that almost two-thirds of homophobic hate crimes go unreported to anyone, with three-quarters not even going to the police.

August 30, 2013

Pastors accused of stirring up mob violence as Christian groups plan second anti-LGBT hate march

Jamaica’s LGBT community is facing an ‘unprecedented’ level of mob attack and is appealing to the world to come to their rescue.

Jamaican LGBT advocate Maurice Tomlinson told Gay Star News he believes the violence is being stirred up by anti-gay pastors who are angry at moves to rid the island of its sodomy law.

The last month has seen attacks on people in their own homes, in private cars, and even an assault on a police officer suspected of being gay who had to be saved by fellow cops using teargas.

August 26, 2013

Says one angry resident: 'We're not going to stand for it'

Five gay men became trapped in their home in Jamaica by a mob of people who believed they made statements aimed at trying to turn young people in their village gay.

Police in the village of Green Mountain were able to finally disperse the crowd in the incident last week that surfaced on YouTube today. The gay men were taken to safety by police.

July 23, 2013

A 17-year-old was attacked by a large crowd of party-goers, who dumped the remains of his body behind some bushes on a road

A Jamaican cross-dressing teen was ‘chopped and stabbed’ to death by a mob last night (22 July).

The 17-year-old was dressed as a woman and dancing with another guy at a party in St James.

At the party by the river, a woman recognized the teen as a male and told other people.

According to local media reports, one of the men ‘held onto the teen, searched him and discovered that he was in fact, male’.

July 8, 2013

Young Jamaican activist Matthew Thomas examines how Christians in his own country, and Nigeria, Georgia, Uganda and Russia, are seeking to silence LGBT people

Freedom of speech is at the core of democracy in the free world. We all have a duty to uphold free speech as without it democracy ceases to exist.

Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948, states: ‘Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.’

June 18, 2013

Tanzanians who are most at risk of HIV face widespread police abuse, being driving into further risk of infection said a report 

LGBT people, along sex workers and people face abuses including torture, rape, assault, arbitrary arrest, and extortion documents a report released today.

In just one example of many interviewees, Saidi W., a gay man arrested in December 2011 reported how he was forced to assemble other gay men in a local bar at gun point, and told by police: ‘If you don’t call your friends, we’ll shoot you.’

June 14, 2013

As a gay Jamaican fights to ‘read down’ the law against anal sex on the island, the religious lobby go into full attack mode

Life is full of ironies.

Jamaican religious groups such as the Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society (JCHS) campaigned vociferously against the broadcast of a paid TV ad which did nothing more than exhort Jamaicans to respect the human rights of gays. Last week, the JCHS even admitted to writing letters to the TV stations threatening them with retaliation from Jamaica’s powerful church lobby, if the ads were aired.

June 5, 2013

Britain’s House of Lords have heard the need for 78 countries to decriminalize homosexuality worldwide, just after voting for gay marriage

The criminalization of homosexuality is ‘abhorrent’ and needs to be scrapped on human rights and HIV-prevention grounds, the House of Lords has heard.

The comment was made by senior Conservative Lord Norman Fowler as Britain’s upper chamber of parliament was debating the UK’s contribution Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB) and Malaria.

May 31, 2013

A Jamaican court has reserved judgment in a suit brought against three TV stations that banned a gay advert

A Jamaican court is considering more arguments in a landmark case where Jamaican TV stations are refusing to broadcast a pro-gay advert

Maurice Tomlinson, a gay Jamaican attorney, brought a suit against TVJ, CVM and the state-run Public Broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica (PBCJ) for their refusal to broadcast a ‘Love and Respect’ advert promoting tolerance toward homosexuals.

May 30, 2013

Protesters fighting against Jamaica TV ban on ‘love and respect’ advert have gathered outside the Jamaican consulate in New York 

A group of gay Jamaicans have protested outside the Jamaican consulate in New York against TV stations refusing to air an advertisement promoting respect for gay people.

Jamaican television networks CVM, TVJ and the Public Broadcast Corporation of Jamaica (PBCJ) refused to air ‘Love and Respect’ an advert promoting respect for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people living in Jamaica.

The 30-second video shows Maurice Tomlinson, a gay Jamaican activist, talking to his aunt about not being accepted in the island nation because of his sexuality.

May 28, 2013

Homeless gay men are living close to Cuban ambassador. Neighbors say they ‘gyrate’ in public, fight, and are prostitutes

Residents are complaining after a group of gay homeless men took over an empty house in Jamaica, almost opposite an ambassador’s official residence.

The Jamaica Observer says ‘dozens’ of gay men are living there ‘behaving in a manner that churns their [the neighbors] collective stomachs’ and adding the neighborhood is ‘going to the dogs’.

The property is on Millsborough Avenue in St Andrew, Kingston, the capital of Jamaica.

May 27, 2013

Dr. Wayne West believes that ‘homophobia’ refers to a mental illness, and to be anti-gay is not an illness but ‘very rational’

A Christian group in Jamaica has published an advertisement in national newspaper The Gleaner that says ‘Speaking Truth is not “Homophobia”’.

Dr. Wayne West, chairman of the Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society (JCHS) that published the ad, spoke to the newspaper defending his anti-gay position not as homophobic, but as ‘very rational’.

May 18, 2013

What the Jamaican TV court challenge from 27 to 31 May is really about by the man behind it

Several months ago, I sent the three major Jamaican television stations (TVJ, CVM and the Public Broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica – PBCJ) a copy of a tolerance advert in which I appear.

The 30-second video called on Jamaicans to respect my human rights as a gay man and was recorded in light of a series of savage attacks against gay Jamaicans.

There was no expectation of being given free airtime, and neither did I want this. For commercial reasons, free ads are never aired during primetime.

January 6, 2013

Jamaican Minister of Justice hints a law banning anti-gay discrimination may be introduced due to pressures to accept  ‘Western’ human rights

In response to a report by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) criticizing Jamaica for its abuse of its LGBT citizens, the country's Minister of Justice hinted that an anti-discrimination legislation, inclusive of sexual orientation, maybe introduced.

January 6, 2013

Jamaica LGBT rights advocate, Maurice Tomlinson, welcomes that his country may ban anti-gay discrimination but points out it is a fundamental human rights and part of the country's heritage - not a 'Western' notion

During his World Human Rights Day speech on December 10, 2012 marking the launch of another human rights watch dog in Jamaica, the country’s Justice Minister, the Honorable Mark Golding claimed that recognizing the human rights of LGBT is a Western concept which Jamaica may be forced to accept or face financial sanction.

While this statement is great politics, it is, of course patently false.

First, homosexuality has been identified in over 1500 animal species, however in no other species besides humans are gay members attacked.

November 25, 2012

Open letter by LGBT rights activist Maurice Tomlinson to Jamaican minister of justice about the delayed review of the country's anti-buggery law

Open Letter to Jamaica's minister of justice, The Honourable Mark Golding regarding the delayed review of the country's anti-buggery law.

Dear Honourable Minister Golding,

I read with dismay, but not surprise, that the government of Jamaica has put the issue of the promised review of the anti-sodomy law on hold, perhaps indefinitely.

November 20, 2012

LGBT rights campaigners protested against homophobia and called for a repeal of anti-sodomy law in front of the Jamaican consulate in New York 

Gay rights campaigners demanded an end to Jamaican ant-gay hate in protest held in front of the country's consulate in New York.

They also demanded the goverment of Jamaica tackles growing homophobia and repeal the country's anti-gay laws.

The protest was held yesterday (19 November 19) and was precipitated by a brutal attack against a gay student by security guards of the University of Technology, Jamaica.